11. Map Theme (The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, 2004)
Four Swords Adventures also has a version of Fairy Fountain as its map theme, and it's a much more adventuresome, rollicking piece. I won't lie, it's a bop. Is it a typical Fairy Fountain? Absolutely not — the bombastic percussion makes it much more of a Grand Quest theme than a song about resting and maybe getting a slightly bigger bomb bag. Still, it's great. I love it.
10. File Select (The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, 2009)
You know, I don't personally like Spirit Tracks (don't get me started), but I have to say — the Fairy Fountain theme here is something special. It takes a lot of inspiration from the locomotive theme in its instrumentation, with chugging percussion and echoey maracas that sound like a steam engine. It's pretty cool, and it deserves to be recognised for taking a slightly more interesting tack.
9. Fairy Fountain (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, 2000)
We're now entering the block of "these songs are all really good and REALLY similar", so get ready for a lot of Fairy Fountain, folks.
This one is the exact same song as Ocarina of Time. I guess it's not surprising; Majora's Mask reused many of Ocarina's assets as part of Nintendo's time-saving strategy that helped get the game out in under two years, so of course they didn't re-record Fairy Fountain. I'm not sure how to rate this one, though. The same as Ocarina, because it's the same song, or slightly worse, because it's less original?
Well... the Great Fairies in Majora's Mask are terrifying, so I can't help but knock it down just a little.
8. Great Fairy's Fountain (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, 2006)
Maybe I'm imagining this after listening to Fairy Fountain for hours on end, but Twilight Princess' version seems a little more mournful than the others. With an incredible echoey reverb, this one sounds more like you're in a cave than any other, and the higher-fidelity music really helps make it feel like a place of rest. It's going to get harder to set the post-Twilight Princess Fairy Fountains apart, because they're all very good, but... we'll try.
7. Enter Goddess (Scott Pilgrim vs The World, 2010)
A small bonus round, because Scott Pilgrim vs The World is not an actual Zelda game... but the movie's bathroom-based tribute is quite special, combining the retro stylings of the original with the sweeping orchestral vocals of the later versions. It's sexy, it's intriguing, it's mysterious — just like Ramona Flowers herself, whose bright hair evokes the Great Fairies. She doesn't upgrade Scott's Bomb Bag, though.
6. Fairy Fountain (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, 1998)
Aaaalright, the one a lot of you have been waiting for, and one of the most iconic and recognisable ones: It's Ocarina of Time! Why is it not rated the highest? Because it is possible to improve on perfection, that's why.
This one feels a little slower, and a little more melancholy than the ALTTP version, adding a little more depth to the timbre of the instruments with synthy harps and piano. It's a fantastic take, and may well be the one people consider the definitive Fairy Fountain... but I still think we can do better.
5. Fairy Spring (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, 2002)
The Wind Waker's Fairy Spring is a lovely, languid version of Fairy Fountain, with ethereal vocals — an element that we'll see returning in other, later games. It lends a tone of awestruck wonder to the well-known tune, turning it from a sparkly piece into something more religious and divine. It's a long way from the creepy one that I put at the bottom of this list, so hopefully that makes up for it.
4. Fairy Fountain (Cadence of Hyrule: Really Long Title, 2019)
I still can't believe that Nintendo let Brace Yourself Games go so buckwild with the Zelda name, but thank Nayru they did, because that's how we ended up with this extremely funky take on the Fairy Fountain theme. With the extra layer of Adriana Figueroa's vocals — Figueroa has also appeared on VA-11 HALL-A and Ikenfell's soundtracks — this version puts an operatic electronic twist on a beloved tune. Also, it slaps.
3. Selection Screen (The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, 2013)
There's a couple of interesting things in A Link Between Worlds' version of the file select screen music. Firstly, the main melody sounds more like a child's xylophone than the typical piano, which is curious — it's perhaps trying to evoke some sort of nostalgia, which is fitting for a game that builds on the base of A Link to the Past. Secondly, there's also a new melody in there, played on strings, which pirouettes away from the recognisable tune to create something a little special, and new.
Thirdly, though, there's a little background tune, played on an off-beat harp. It's almost unnerving, but I think that's the point: it's setting you up for something recognisable, yet new. It's designed to make you excited and nervous for the game. And I know that this is the exact reason that I said I didn't like the Fairy Fountain theme from ALBW, but it just works a lot better in the mix here.
2. Great Fairy's Fountain Theme (The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony)
If I had a time machine, I would go back to 2011 so that I could watch this symphony in person. It's the closest we can possibly get to the reverent majesty of being in an actual fairy fountain, and I can't even put into words how lovely it is. I think the fact that it's also not based too heavily on a particular version helps to set it apart.
Just listen to it! It's the second best fairy fountain!
1. Great Fairy Fountain, Milk Bar Version (The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, 2013)
But the best version of Fairy Fountain, or the File Select Theme, or whatever you want to call it? It's this one, from A Link Between Worlds!
This version is just wonderful, especially after you've listened to this song for hours on end. You can request this song at ALBW's Milk Bar for ten Rupees, and the two musicians will play a very simple instrumental version of the iconic track on a lute and a recorder. It's slow, reverent, and thoughtful — as if Nintendo are themselves paying homage to the song.
Is it cheating if I say this is the best version? I don't care. It is. It's a tribute to the twenty years of Fairy Fountain, and it's absolutely brilliant; I can't think of a better way to end this list.
There you have it: a semi-definitive ranking of all the Fairy Fountains/File Select themes from the Zelda series, plus a couple of extras here and there. Let me know in the comments what you think of my ranking, and whether I missed any super important ones — it was pretty hard to keep track.